Hockey: Hampstead expecting test of will at Cannock

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The Independent Online

The absence of members of the Great Britain Olympic training squads have given an unfamiliar look to the top of the two Premier Divisions of the National Leagues.

It could all end today for Hampstead and Westminster with their first real test of the season, a visit to second-placed Cannock who have been coping well without four of their key players.

With Nicky Thompson, recruited during the summer from Old Loughtonians, teaming up with his former colleague from the Barcelona and Atlantic Olympics, Chris Mayer, the Staffordshire side have made light of the absentees.

At the bottom, Teddington and Old Loughtonians will be looking for their first points. The Old Boys, with their South African internationals Justin King and Mike Cullen available for their first League game of the season, look the most likely to succeed away at St Albans. Teddington's hopes of breaking their duck away at neighbours Surbiton seems less likely.

Chelmsford, on top of the Women's Premier, expect a large crowd at Chelmer Park for their first outing on the new water-based surface and they will be in no mood to relinquish their grip when they entertain Olton and West Warwick who have been struggling this season.

The Essex side will also be looking to put as many points as possible between themselves and second-placed Clifton before losing the services of their coach Karen Brown who will shortly be off to Australia with the GB party for her first senior international coaching experience. Clifton entertain third-placed Hightown.